I’m so happy to have one of my fabulous Seymour Agency “siblings” visiting today to talk about her latest release, SOMEBODY LIKE YOU! 🙂 Please welcome the absolutely lovely and charming Lynnette Austin!
Welcome, Lynnette! I’m so excited to have you here to visit! Tell everyone a little bit about yourself.
I love Starbucks, Peppermint Patties, and long rides with the windows down and the music cranked up! One of the biggest thrills I’ve had as a writer was getting the phone call telling me I was a Golden Heart finalist…and now, this year, my seventh and eighth books will be released. Dreams do, indeed, come true! I’m writing my new Maverick Junction series for Grand Central Publisher as Lynnette Austin. My previous books were written as Lynnette Hallberg. I hope you’ll check me out at www.authorlynnetteaustin.com
I will definitely be checking out your other books! So, what has been the most exciting moment in your publishing journey so far?
There’s something special about the first time. 😉 When I sold my first book to Kensington, I just couldn’t believe it had actually happened. When the mailman delivered my box of books, I tore it open and did quite the little happy dance. Then I opened a book and simply smelled it. There’s nothing like it—the sweet smell of success and books all rolled into one. With the advent of the e-reader we’re gaining so much, but we’re losing some things, too. I do love the feel of a good book in my hand. I love studying the cover, smelling the pages.
I admit, I do love the smell of books… And I’m so looking forward to adding SOMEBODY LIKE YOU to my collection!! Without giving any spoilers, can you tell everyone what they can expect?
It’s a contemporary Western with a sexy-as-sin cowboy hero and a strong, independent heroine. He’s into cowboy boots and Lone Star beer, while she loves her designer clothes and champagne from crystal flutes.
When a cowboy meets an heiress…
Cash Hardeman thought he’d have all the time in the world to find the right woman…until he discovered that his gold digging step-grandmother will inherit the family ranch if he’s not married by his 30th birthday. With the deadline just around the corner and no prospects in sight, Cash knows it’s only a matter of time before he loses everything. But when Boston beauty Annelise blows into his life, Cash can’t help but wonder if she’s what he’s been looking for all along.
Giving her bodyguards and the paparazzi the slip, Annelise Montjoy has come to Maverick Junction in search of the long-lost relative who can save her grandfather’s life. But living incognito in the small Texas town is nothing like she expected, and she’s finding it difficult to keep her identity a secret–especially with a rough and tumble cowboy like Cash tempting her. It’s not long before Annelise starts to wonder if she’s finally found the man who can love her for herself rather than her money. But will Annelise’s secrets catch up with her before she and Cash can ride off into the Texas sunset?
Sounds like a fun story! What was the inspiration for SOMEBODY LIKE YOU? Can you pinpoint one moment when the lightning struck?
I was reading a vintage Nora Roberts’ book one evening for about the fourth time—Cordina’s Crown Jewel—and ideas started racing through my mind. Growing up with Walt Disney’s princesses as we all did, there’s something magical about them. But what if a princess really was reluctant about assuming her duties? Maybe she had never expected to take the position and would become princess by default? That was actually the working title at the beginning of this WIP—Princess by Default.
Annelise Montjoy, my reluctant princess, morphed as the story started taking shape into an oil heiress living in Boston. When she rode her big, black Harley into Maverick Junction, Texas, and caught her first good look at Cash Hardeman in his worn jeans and scuffed boots, I knew I had the right combination.
Speaking of Maverick Junction… Is this town based on any particular place?
Maverick Junction is kind of the quintessential small town, full of quirky characters and neighbors who watch out for each other. Everyone knows everybody else’s business, and you couldn’t keep a secret if you tried. And both Cash and Annelise do. Try, that is. 😉
I love writing small towns. There’s a flavor to them that can only exist there. Maverick Junction is a blend of every small town I’ve ever been in. I swear, after spending three books in this Texas town, I know it as well as I do my small hometown in Pennsylvania. Maverick Junction—and its people–have become very real to me.
And it sounds to me like those characters are going to be H-O-T! I don’t know if anyone will argue that there’s just something seriously sexy about a cowboy. 😉 But why do you think readers are so drawn to the modern-day cowboy romances? What drew you to this particular genre?
I lived in Wyoming for almost twenty years. A cowboy is a cowboy, whether he’s from Wyoming, Texas, or parts in between. Cowboys are strong and confident, and they’re not afraid of an equally strong woman. Instead, they celebrate her. Cowboys carry in their hearts old-fashioned values. They stand for their country and its flag, say yes ma’am and no sir, and love their mamas and daddies. They know how to treat their women and aren’t afraid of emotion, whether it’s anger or passion. They’re kind of a throwback to a slower, easier time but with a kickass edge, and they’re irresistible in their cowboy boots and Stetsons.
How many books are currently planned for the MAVERICK JUNCTION series? What can we expect in the next book?
Right now, I can promise three. There’s another in the planning stage, and we’ll see how that goes.
The next in the series releases soon—June 4, 2013—and can be preordered on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Nearest Thing to Heaven finds Ty Rawlins, the widowed father of rambunctious triplets, at odds with Sophie London when she returns to Maverick Junction for her cousin’s wedding. Chicago is home, where she runs Stardust Productions, her greeting card company. Sophie is a fish out of water in Texas. The cows freak her out. The long-horned steers are nightmare material. But Ty’s triplets, one of whom spills cherry soda on her white silk lap at Cash’s barbecue, are enough to make her run all the way back to Illinois in her Jimmy Choos. What will it take for Ty to convince Sophie that Maverick Junction is where she belongs, right beside him and his boys?
Who are some of your professional influences? Which writers inspire you? Is there anything exciting on your TBR list that you’d like to share?
I absolutely love Nora Roberts—and so, of course, J D Robb. She’s my writing hero! I might have a copy of all two hundred plus books she’s written and most have been read more than once. I also absolutely adore Mary Kay Andrews. I met her for the first time at GWA’s Moonlight and Magnolias Conference. Over lunch, I learned she had a new book out—Savannah Blues—which gives you an idea as to how long ago that was. I fell in love with Weezy and have since read every single one of her books. Diana Mott Davidson, Lee Child, the late Robert Parker, Pat Conroy, and Stephanie Laurens are all favorites as is Rachel Gibson. I love to read and am rather eclectic in my choices.
Right now, on my Nook, waiting TBR are Nora’s new Whiskey Beach, Jean Harrington’s Killer Kitchen, the third in her Murders By Design mystery series, and Julie Ann Walker’s Hell on Wheels. I’m in the middle of my first Robyn Carr book and loving it. I’ve never read her before.
Oooh, I’ve been reading Julie Ann Walker’s series — you’re gonna love it!
Okay, last question before I let you get back to it. If there was anything you could’ve done differently on your journey to publication, what would it be? Any advice you can share with other authors?
What would I have done differently? I think the biggest mistake I made was in not following up when an editor sent a rejection letter asking to see my manuscript again after specific rewrites. I made the rookie mistake of assuming that was simply her way of letting me down easy, and that’s so not true. If an editor takes the time to give you suggestions and asks to see it again after you’ve made them, he or she is serious. Editors—and agents—have way too much work to do to spend time on a manuscript that doesn’t show promise for their line.
As far as advice? I’ll share a piece given to me by another writer, one I think is so important. Someone told me early on to keep in mind that the writing community is actually quite small. Editors and agents move around a lot. Don’t burn your bridges—ever. Always remember this is a profession and behave accordingly. Don’t let your emotions rule.
A couple more pieces of advice from me. Writing is a habit, kind of like exercise. Train yourself to grab spare minutes rather than waiting for those huge blocks of time. When I was still teaching, I’d get up at four-thirty or five in the morning so I could write for an hour or so before getting ready for school. When I came home, I’d write for half an hour before starting dinner. It’s often about making time and setting expectations.
Keep writing–every day—and keep your story moving forward. Don’t worry about getting every word, every scene perfect the first time through. You won’t. So many new writers work and rework those first few chapters, polishing them until they shine. That won’t get the book finished. Chances are, by the time you do finish, you’ll have to go back and edit those first chapters again anyway because by then you’ll know your characters inside and out. You’ll know what they’d do and how they’d react so much better than you did when you started that manuscript. Don’t waste time striving for perfection on the first draft.
Also, perseverance truly is the keystone to getting and staying published. Yes, your manuscript is your baby. Yes, you’ve poured your heart and soul into it. Yes, you’re deathly afraid an agent or editor might say something bad about that baby. If you don’t submit, though, you won’t sell. That’s one of the few guarantees in this business.
Awesome advice! I couldn’t agree more! Thanks again for stopping by and chatting with me, Lynnette. 🙂
Thanks, Kate, for having me today, and another great big thanks to everyone who stopped by for a visit!
Happy reading and writing,
And, hey, folks, Lynnette is doing a giveaway! Make sure you enter using the rafflecopter widget below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author
Lynnette Austin’s first book was born as she drove across Oklahoma on a trip from Wyoming to Florida, with two eleven-year-old boys and way too much luggage stuffed into the very tiny backseat of a Porsche 944. Although that book is safely hidden away where no one has to see it, her seventh and eighth books, the last in her Maverick Junction series, will be released this year. She was raised in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains, moved to New York, then to the Rockies in Wyoming. Presently she and her husband divide their time between the beaches of Florida and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. She’s a recovering middle school language arts teacher and is now writing full-time and loving it.
Where to find Lynnette:
Lynnette Hallberg Website: www.LynnetteHallberg.com